Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

1G8                                      NATIONALITY OF THE SCULFTOBS,
ascetic has been seduced by their wiles into tasting the dangerous draught; one
of the two cnps is in his hand, the other is ready to follow. In the third one,
of which there are two representations, the cups have been quaffed, and he is
reeling from their effects.
Obviously all this has nothing to do -with Silenus ; the discovery of the
second block, which supplies the missing scene in the drama, makes it quite
clear that some entirely different personage is intended. The tazza theory may
also be dismissed ; for the shallow bason at the top of the stone seems to be
nothing more than the bed for the reception of a round pillar. A sacrificial
vase was a not uncommon offering among the Greeks ; and if the carving had
been shown to represent a Greek legend, there would have been no great
improbability in supposing that the work had been executed for a foreigner
who employed it ia accordance with his own national usage. But in dedicat-
ing a cup to one of his own divinities, he would not decorate it with scenes from
Hindu mythology ; while, on the other hand, the offering of a cup of such
dimensions to any monastery or shrine on the part of a Buddhist is both
unprecedented and intrinsically improbable.
Finally, as to the nationality of the artist.   The foliage? it must be ob-
served, is identical in character with what is seen on many Buddhist pillars found
in the immediate neighbourhood and generally in connection with figures of Maya
Devi ; whence it may be presumed that it is intended to represent the sal tree,
under which Buddha was born? though it is by no means a correct representa-
tion of that tree.    The other minor accessories are also, with one exception, either
clearly Indian^ or at least not strikingly nn-Indian : such as the earrings and
bangles worn "by the female figures and the feet either bare or certainly not shod
with sandals : the one exception being the mantle of the male attendant in
the drunken scene.    Considering the local character of all the other accessories, I
find it impossible to agree with General Cunningham in ascribing the work to a
foreign artistj " on© of a small body of Bactrian sculptorSj who found employ-
ment among the weal&y Buddhists at Mathura, as in later days Europeans were
employed under the Mughal emperors."    The thoroughly Indian character of
the details seem? to me, as to Dr. Ultra, decisive proof that the sculptor was a
uatiYe of the country ; nor do I think it very strange that he should represent
one of the less important characters as clothed in a modified Greek costume, since
it is an established historical fact that Mathum was included in the Bactrian
Empire^ and the Greek style of dress cannot have been altogether unfamiliar to
him*   The artificial folds vf the diapery were probably borrowed from what he
sawoa coins.